Thursday, May 19th

books1You’ll find an abundance of books at the Scarsdale Library Book Sale this week….in fact, Ruth Kohn, President of the Friends of the Scarsdale Library estimates that there are 20,000 books, tapes, and cd’s for sale. The Scott Room is packed, with spillover into the library entryway and many more titles on tables outside.

Prices are very reasonable, ranging from .50-$3.00 for soft and hardcover books. In addition, the sale includes collectibles that range in price from $5-$100. Book dealers have been coming by every day and report that the prices for the collectible books are extremely fair.

And if those prices are not low enough, on Wednesday September 15 everything is half off and on Sunday, September 19 there will be a blow-out sale.

Book sale hours for the rest of the week are as follows:

  • Tuesday September 14: 11 am – 8 pmbooks2
  • Wednesday September 15: 11 am – 8 pm (half price)
  • Thursday September 16: 9 am – 5 pm (half price)
  • Friday September 17: 9 am – 4 pm (half price)
  • Saturday September 18: Library closed for Yom Kippur
  • Sunday September 19: 10 am – 4 pm (half price or less)

Thanks so much to the Friends of the Scarsdale Library for their herculean efforts.



Bruce Degen, illustrator of the Magic School Bus series, will join Alyssa Capucilli, author of the Biscuit series, and dozens more children’s book authors and illustrators at Celebrate Children’s Book Day, a one-day gala devoted to children’s literature and filled with readings, demonstrations, magic, music, and book signings at Washington Irving’s Sunnyside on Sunday, Sept. 19 from 12 – 6 pm.

In all, more than 50 children’s book authors and illustrators will take part.

“It is amazing that little Tarrytown is home to one of the only events dedicated to Children’s book authors and illustrators,” said author Nick Bruel of Tarrytown. “No where else have I seen such a heavy concentration of luminaries in the children’s book world all gathered in one place. Every year I am astounded by the hundreds of people that attend.”

In addition to author appearances, costumed characters Clifford, the Big Red Dog, Bunnicula, Biscuit, and Franklin the Turtle, will be roaming the grounds. Magician Dikki Ellis will be performing pocket magic from 12:30-4:30pm. The creators and stars of the legendary children’s television show The Magic Garden, Carole Demas of Irvington and Paula Janis, will be performing from 4:30-5:30.

New faces to Book Day this year include: Michael Buckley author of The Sisters Grimm series, Bryan Collier illustrator of Dave the Potter, Gary Golio author of Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow, Diane Goode illustrator of But I Wanted a Baby Brother!, Victoria Kann author/illustrator of Pinkalicious , Steven Kroll author of The Tyrannosaurus Game, Matt McElligott, author/illustrator of Even Monsters Need Haircuts, and Lizzy Rockwell author/illustrator of Don’t Go Up Haunted Hill…or Else!

Returning favorites include many from Westchester County:

  • From Bedford Hills: Katie Davis, author of The Curse of Addy McMahon.
  • From Chappaqua: Jean Craighead George, author of My Side of the Mountain; Matt Van Fleet, author/illustrator of Heads; and Jean Van Leeuwen, author of the Amanda and Oliver Pig series; Barbara Dee, author of Solving Zoe.
  • From Croton: Jerry Pinkney, illustrator of The Lion and the Mouse; Gloria Pinkney, author of Back Home; Jerry Smath, illustrator of The Taming of Lola
  • From Hartsdale: Eric Velasquez, illustrator of Our Children Can Soar.
  • From Hastings: Alyssa Capucilli, author of the Biscuit series; Pat Schories, illustrator of the Biscuit series; Ed Young, illustrator of Moon Bear; Roni Schotter, author of Nothing Ever Happens on 90th Street; Dan Greenburg, author of The Secrets of Dripping Fang series; and J.C. Greenburg, author of Andrew Lost series.
  • From Irvington: Peter Sis, author/illustrator of The Dreamer.
  • From Katonah: Judy Blundell, author of 39 Clues.
  • From Mamaroneck: Charise Mericle Harper, author/illustrator of Just Grace series.
  • From Ossining: Susanna Reich, author of Painting the Wild Frontier; Gary Golio, author of Jimi; Sounds Like a Rainbow
  • From Scarsdale: Bernard Most, author/illustrator of Dinosaur Cousins.
  • From Tarrytown: Nick Bruel, author/illustrator of Bad Kitty
  • From White Plains: Howard Fine, illustrator of All Aboard the Dinotrain
  • From Yonkers­: James Howe; author of Brontorina
  • From Yorktown: Marisabina Russo, author of The Bunnies Are Not in Their Beds.

Author and illustrator appearances, including readings and demonstrations, will be broken into 90-minute segments beginning at 12, 1:30, and 3. The full schedule of authors appears on Books by all of the attending writers and illustrators will be available for purchase and signing.

Food from Irvington-based Geordane’s will be available for picnickers.

The event is produced by Beth Vetare-Civitello and Susan Brandes and sponsored by Sunnyside Federal Savings and Loan of Irvington. The non-profit Historic Hudson Valley owns and operates Sunnyside, which is the romantic, picturesque homestead of Washington Irving, the author best known for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle.

Admission to Sunnyside is $12 for adults; $10 for seniors; $6 for children 5-17; and free for children under 5 and HHV members. Tours of Irving’s house are included in the price of admission. Tickets can be purchased online: Washington Irving’s Sunnyside is at 89 West Sunnyside Lane in Tarrytown, one mile south of the Tappan Zee Bridge, off Route 9.



On Sunday, July 11 the Scarsdale Public Library hosted a small ceremony to dedicate its new bench, chair, and planter in honor of Dr. Howard Rapaport, Elizabeth Rapaport, and Lois Rapaport Shugar. The furniture set was a gift to the library from the Shugar and Rapaport families, and the ceremony was attended by family members and friends.

The Rapaport family has been present in Scarsdale since 1944, and from 1944 to 2005, seventeen Rapaports attended Scarsdale schools. Amy Shugar, Lois Rapaport Shugar’s daughter and Howard and Elizabeth Rapaport’s granddaughter, spoke at the ceremony about the library’s strong presence in her family’s life. She remembers the library as “a place where our mother used to bring us for the children’s readings, puppet shows, music and art classes, as our grandmother did for her.”

Amy Shugar first considered donating to the library following a conversation with Lois Rapaport Shugar. “When [we] lost our mother so suddenly last year, we knew this was the first thing that [we] wanted to do in her memory. She loved the library, loved Scarsdale, loved to read and shared everything with us,” said Shugar.

Library Director Beth Bermel thanked the families for their generous gift, which will be enjoyed by Scarsdale residents for many years, and noted that their donation reflects the important role the library exerts in the life of the community. The seating is located in the library’s courtyard for all to enjoy.

Pictured on Bench - Henriette and Thibaut Desmoures

If you thought the printed book was a phenomenon of the past, rest assured it’s alive and well in Scarsdale. The Friends of the Scarsdale Library are currently collecting books for the 2010 Book Sale to be held September 11- 19 and they are busy sorting through piles of donated books. CD’s, DVD’s, vinyl records, sheet music and video games. According to Kathy Steves, Book Sale Chairman, the sale will feature a special section of new fiction, published in 2009 and 2010.

Sometimes the volunteers find more than just books. Earlier this summer, Ruth Kohn, President of the Friends of the Scarsdale Library found $500 inside one donated book, but she was able to find the rightful owner and returned the money. Another contributor called police in a panic when she thought she left thousands of dollars of jewelry concealed inside a jewelry box disguised as a fake book. The “book” was located by volunteers, but nothing was found inside.

In 2008, I found a wonderful note concealed inside a gardening book and wrote this entry about it:

I attended the book sale at the Scarsdale Library last week. It's a reader's paradise. You can find any novel that you haven't read...sometimes in the bargain basement price of just a $1.00 for a barely-touched hardcover copy. I couldn't help but marvel at the quality of the community's donations --- from Anne Tyler and Philip Roth to non-fiction contributions covering the most esoteric topics. A friend who's a collector told me that her husband picked up a first edition of a book for $60 and found it was valued at over $2,000. Only in Scarsdale!

But book browsing proved to be only half the fun. While nosing around the gardening section for a guide to perennials, I found a handwritten note underneath the books. Curious, I picked it up and found a gem.

On a small sheet of personalized notepaper, titled "Lisa", there was this short but telling missive from wife to husband. Here's how it read:

My King:

Before massage and after working out, a trip to the store would be much appreciated.

1) 4 FAT pieces of swordfish
2) Brussle sprouts (misspelled as shown)
3) wild rice or brown rice
4) lettuce, cucumber and (tomatoe for my parents)

Thank you - oh and capers in a jar - 2 jars ----

I love you.
Have a wonderful day.

The Queen

I quickly stowed the note between the covers of a novel I had selected, paid and left.

I realized that I had a sweet story in my hands. I thought of Ian McEwan, author of Saturday who crafted a novel based on the events of a single day. Just that morning in the Times I read a story of a girl who found a diary in a New York City dumpster and used it as the foundation of her first novel. Could this note be my inspiration?

Or perhaps it could simply be a thought-provoker in our household. After all, my weekend notes to my husband were often met with a comment such as "So you left me a list of what I need to do today?" No mention of royalty here - only complaints from the serfs who toil. On the other hand, my "to-do" lists were not as cleverly or lovingly drafted. Maybe I could learn a bit about coercion from my new muse.

I read and re-read the note. I noticed that the author, Lisa, seemed please that her husband, a.k.a. "the King" would enjoy his workout and massage. She reminded him that his trip to the store would be "much appreciated" and ended by conveying her love and wishing him a wonderful day. Signing the note, "The Queen" indicated that she too felt important to the King and the household. I envied these people. How they had elevated the mundane to the sublime!

At dinner that night, my husband was huddled over the newspaper, alternating glances at his new IPhone and MSNBC. Vying for a glance my way, I slipped the note under his nose and mentioned that I'd found it today. A few minutes passed without remark and my spirits plummeted. Wouldn't he react?

Finally I said, "Honey...did you read it?

Without missing a beat or should I say a beep from his IPhone, he answered, "Yes my Queen, what can I do for you?"

According to a recent study by the Johns Hopkins’ Center for Summer Learning the average student loses approximately 2.6 months of grade level equivalency in reading and math skills over the summer, But, here in Scarsdale more than 300 children are fighting this trend. They are participating in the Scarsdale Public Library’s annual Summer Reading Game and proving that one of the best ways to combat the loss is to keep reading year round.

“The program helps kids improve their school work, develop lifelong reading habits, and even awards prizes to participants in the process,” says children’s librarian Karen Zielinski.  Since the game commenced on June 25, 315 children have registered to play and 1,295 books have been read. The game’s players range from pre-readers, infants whose parents read to them, to sixth graders. “We expect even more to sign up,” Zielinski says. “In previous years, additional children join the game as the summer progresses.”  The game ends on August 14.  Last year, the program had 265 participants.

The Summer Reading Game is easily played by children at home or away for the summer. Students are encouraged to read whatever books interest them and can record their books as they are reading them, or all at once at their convenience.

Seven (soon to be eight) year old Brooke Paykian describes the game as “fun” and “easy.” She was pleased to find out that she could read her favorite mystery series, David Adler’s Cam Jansen, for the game. Another popular series being read by participants is The 39 Clues, an ongoing mystery series written by well-known children’s authors Rick Riordan, Gordon Korman, Peter Lerangis, Jude Watson, Patrick Carman, Linda Sue Park, and Margaret Peterson Haddix. Rick Riordan’s other series, the historically based Kane Chronicles and Lightening Thief, are also enjoying popularity among this year’s readers.

Children can still sign up for the game, either online (through a link on the library website, or at the library’s Children’s Desk. After registering, participants will receive a free Start-Up Kit, including fun activities, the rules and a reading journal.  Participants are eligible to win exciting prizes and a weekly ice cream raffle.

 Zielinski notes that playing the Summer Reading Game is a great way for kids to have fun, continue good reading practices and be ready when school starts.


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